Magazine article The Spectator

Deals on Wheels

Magazine article The Spectator

Deals on Wheels

Article excerpt

Being driven is one of the great luxuries.

It's right up there with breakfast in bed, silence, sunshine, new socks and vast expanses of marble. It's elevating.

It's relaxing. It's addictive. How lovely it is to fall into the back of a waiting car to be expertly magic carpeted off to, well, even to places one would rather not be going.

My car expired at the start of summer, and, despite my best efforts, until this week I hadn't replaced it. I seemed to be coming out ahead, more by sloppiness than by design. I needed a car, or thought I did, but the cost of second-hand cars was falling by more each month than what I was spending on a chauffeur each month, and it's fair to say that I've been using the local chauffeur company a lot. I even had to book them to take the cat for its operation in Solihull.

They did me a very competitive price on that job, but then, when you look into it, it's all very competitively priced, is chauffeuring.

Perhaps one of the reasons for my delaying buying a car is that having a car, any car, is nowhere near as nice as having a driver.

Over the course of the summer David, my driver, and I have naturally had lengthy discussions as to exactly what car I should buy.

The last car I bought, I actually bought from him, a people carrier that he'd taken us all to the airport in a couple of times. I love that car as I have loved no other, but it's constantly booked out, ferrying four small children around.

So I needed a car and it didn't take Dave and I many weeks to work out that I needed a car exactly the same as the one he has been driving me around in. So it was that he drove me up to Nottinghamshire on Wednesday with his good friend Bob, to look at one that had taken our fancy. When compared with the cost of a new kitchen, a new patio or especially something really boring like a new roof, brand-new cars look pretty good value at the moment. They just don't make bad ones any more, either. No one makes a bad car. The man who delivers the post is cruising around in greater comfort than Elvis ever knew. A small consolation for the fact that it's the 21st century and we should all be floating around on jetpacks is that falling markets, combined with the 'line 'em all up in a row and take your pick' power of the internet, mean, as you may well have heard, that big-ass, second-hand cars are an all-time bargain at the moment. …

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